Dragonball Evolution So I was in the middle of browsing the Internet today drinking some hot chocolate when I got a call from a friend. He asked if I wanted to go to the cinema and I accepted his invitation. When I asked what we were going to watch he dropped a bombshell. The movie was going to be Dragonball Evolution.
Now, initially put off by the proposal, I wanted to say no, but then I came to my senses and I thought I would give it a shot. Who knows, maybe it would satisfy my needs as an old Dragonball Z fan.
Before I go any further I must say all my knowledge of Dragonball comes from only the United Kingdom’s Cartoon Network versions of Dragonball, Dragonball Z and Dragonball GT. I haven’t read any mangas or watched any original voice overs/subtitles.
But none of that matters because this movie is terrible.
Yes, the fans already called this from the word go, but this movie isn’t just a horrid Dragonball movie. It’s a horrid movie full stop.
The plot is, well…nothing like Dragonball or Dragonball Z. Goku’s a teenager. He lives with his grandpa Gohan and is taught martial arts by him. He’s your generic teenage lead looking to get the girl and be cool, etc, etc, etc.
He does not have a tail.
On his 18th birthday his grandfather gives him the 4 Star Dragonball, and all hell breaks loose. Piccolo (For purists, that’s older, evil Piccolo, played by a wasted James Marsters. Dang, I miss Spike…) has broken from a 2000 year curse ready to come back and try to destroy the world. On his warpath he manages to mess up Goku’s normal, teenage life and send Goku on a path of vengeance.
Goku learns that he has to find Master Roshi (played by Chow Yun-Fat) to teach him the ways of the warrior, collect the six remaining Dragonballs and stop Piccolo from his evil plan.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Dragonball without your supporting characters, and you’ve got them! You have Chi-Chi, Bulma, Yamcha and of course, Master Roshi.
And almost none of them are likeable. Sure, Chi-Chi and Bulma are okay on the eyes, but there’s not real reason to like them. Heck, Chi-Chi’s better in the anime and even then she’s not exactly a major star.
When I first saw Yamcha in this I thought he would ooze cool, but the second he spoke I lost all faith. His accent was terrible and the jokes were not funny. And to top it all off, Master Roshi played by Yun-Fat is just one giant face-palm.
This is the badass Chow Yun-Fat who played Tequila in Hard Boiled, reduced down to a perverted man-child. It does not bode well.
I haven’t even touched Goku. He shouldn’t be a teenager (He should be either a kid or an adult, not the middle ground), he’s way too thin, he has no real personality, he fights like a pansy, is motivated more by girls than the need to save the world (Figures…), he’s everything Goku isn’t.
And on a side-note, not being racist or anything but this has a whiff of the Forbidden Kingdom to it. One Caucasian martial arts kid in a sea of Asian actors. Except for the high school parts. With multi-cultural gangs to keep P.C. (Unlike me right now, so let’s move on…)
Now I know this movie’s made for the kids, but it’s still not great. There are few genuine laughs, the story leaves out plot-holes and is attempting to compress hours of story from an anime into 90 minutes of screen-time (84 to be exact, but it felt like more…)
If you’re a kid, you’re lost. If you’re a fan, you’re lost. If you’re neither, Fast and Furious must have somehow sold out. Oh yeah, and you’d be lost.
The film is shot terribly. The martial arts fight scenes make me cry with their simplicity lack of flow and spectacle. Even the special moves just lack the charm. That being said the effects on the Ki blasts had a hint of Street Fighter IV, which isn’t a bad thing (On the subject of SF, every time I heard ‘Shen Long’ in this movie, I couldn’t help but smile. At an unrelated reference.)
The use of CGI in this ranges from alright to downright horrendous. As previously mentioned, the Ki blasts, Kamehamehas and some other similar effects were pretty decent. Everything else though, laughable.
Another gripe I have is that this movie uses way too much slow motion. So much so Zack Snyder if he was dead (Which hasn’t happened yet, damnit) would roll around in his grave. Probably in slow-mo.
It’s not even needed half the time! The first shot after the prologue is in slow motion. And its just water dripping off Goku’s face! And the following shots didn’t improve anything; with the worst CGI bug I’ve seen in a long time and a terrible balancing act of a fight scene.
Which also makes me wonder if the artists who invented wirework and pioneered it for martial arts film are hanging themselves after this movie. It is shockingly bad.
Good, sweet Jenova, I could keep on going. This is the genuinely worst movie I have seen for a long time (Not just those ‘differences of opinion’ I have with movies like Cold Prey and A History Of Violence)
Avoid. Avoid even if you don’t care about how faithful it is.
It is not faithful at all by the way. Don’t get me started again. Just call it Dragonball Devolution.